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Undecided- Need advise- Hawaii Nov 2019- Grand PrincessRT SF


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Hi!

 

I will need advise from you experts out there.  I booked a Hawaiin Cruise on the Grand Princess in November 2019.  I am just so undecided whether to go for it or look for another destination.  Need to know if it is cold ( what is cold:classic_unsure:) out of San Francisco and back to San Francisco in November.  It is an older ship. Will I be bored on sea days .Will there be people my age ( late 50's)?  Once in Hawaii, it will be fantastic but it's getting there that I an not sure of.

 

Need to know all your pros and cons!!

 

Thanks

 

 

 

 

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The first 2 days out of SF will probably be cold and it should warm up as you near the islands - personally I love the long slow relaxing sea days.  I have done this cruise 3 times and am doing it again from Vancouver later this year

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It will be on the chilly side until you are about 3 days in and then cool again on the last 3 days of the sailing.  

I like this sailing but would not recommend it for someone not knowing if they will be bored or not on sea days.  It can be very choppy on those same days when the weather is chilly, so if you decide to go, my advice is to pick your cabin accordingly.  We met with people that were so sea sick and wanted to go home by the time we got to Hawaii.  I think the Grand (or maybe it is just the specific cruise director) could do a much better job in organizing activities and Hawaiian themed events on the many sea days there and back.  Their events lately seem to focus on eating.  If the casino is something you enjoy, they do close down while in Hawaiian waters but you'll still be able to gamble on the way there and back.  

The weather in Hawaii can be very pleasant at that time of the year but I've been there in the beginning of December and had to wear a sweater on land....so cooler than that while the ship is moving.   It wasn't quite as warm as I'd thought it would be but it certainly wasn't cold.   

There will be people your age and some older passengers as well....not a lot of younger ones, though.... not on a 15 night sailing.    

To be perfectly honest, I've done this sailing (both out of LA and SF, multiple times) and would pick a newer ship for this itinerary ... and one with more activities and ship features.  But, I would make sure it had an indoor pool, as the Grand does.  Sailing out of SF is pretty spectacular, though ... much nicer than sailing out of LA.  I've done both so feel free to ask any specific questions you may have.  

 

 

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Cruise Raider-  Thank you very much.  I will most certainly take you up on asking you questions....Just have to think of what exactly I need to ask!  Lol!  

 

Once again, thanks , much appreciated!!

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1 minute ago, garda said:

Cruise Raider-  Thank you very much.  I will most certainly take you up on asking you questions....Just have to think of what exactly I need to ask!  Lol!  

 

Once again, thanks , much appreciated!!

 

I realize I am on the Princess forum but the Celebrity Eclipse has this itinerary out of LA in that same time of the year ... just to let you know about other options.  And yes, feel free to ask away.  I do love this itinerary and do sail on the Grand often as she is right here in our backyard, but would honestly choose the Eclipse out of LA over the Grand, which is really showing her age.  She is over 20 now and doesn't have a center staircase for passenger use above deck 7 or 8, which makes her feel so much more crowded.  The stateroom closets are smaller, too.  For a 15 night itinerary, it could be a bit of an annoyance.  

However, if you are lucky enough to secure (and afford) a window suite ... I'd jump on it in a heartbeat!  

Of note (and I really don't want to sound like I dislike the Grand or Princess, for that matter as I have 3 future cruises booked on Princess, two of which are on the Grand), but the Grand has broken down at least once (and maybe twice) on that Hawaii itinerary.  

 

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I love the itinerary and especially the Grand but the Grand is not the best choice for a transoceanic voyage (its flat bottomed) that many sea days, that time of year, you WILL encounter some rough seas and the barf bags will be out.....

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2 minutes ago, Cruise Raider said:

Celebrity Eclipse has this itinerary out of LA i

I have been looking at this also. I've been on the Eclipse and she is gorgeous.   I just really wanted to leave  San Francisco! 

 

Decisions, decisions...

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I have done 4 Hawaii cruises.  One out of SF in Winter, One out of LA in Winter and One out of SD in Winter.  So far this trip has been my favorite.  Out of SF the November temp will probably be in the 60s.  The first two days will be chilly but it will warm up each day.  Reverse on the way back.  You don't say how much your cruise so I don't know how much you like sea days.  I love them!  Princess will have many activities going on from morning to late night.  If you enjoy sea day activities you will enjoy it.  But 4 or 5 day at sea is a bit.  No sight of land.  You really get to know your ship and create a routine.  I think of this trip as 3 vacations.  First you relax going over, then you have very busy days while there and then a few days to recover on the way.  Enjoy

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1 minute ago, TNTLAMB said:

I love the itinerary and especially the Grand but the Grand is not the best choice for a transoceanic voyage (its flat bottomed) that many sea days, that time of year, you WILL encounter some rough seas and the barf bags will be out.....

Thanks TNTLAMB,

 

My husband would not be very happy.  He occasionally gets seasick during rough seas....

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4 minutes ago, garda said:

I have been looking at this also. I've been on the Eclipse and she is gorgeous.   I just really wanted to leave  San Francisco! 

 

Decisions, decisions...

 

I totally understand that!  We've sailed out of SF over 2 dozen times and I never tire of sailing under our Golden Gate!  It is a beautiful sight to experience!!  

 

You know, the Star will be replacing the Grand in SF in mid 2020.  She is still the same class as the Grand but somewhat newer.  

Edited by Cruise Raider
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We sailed to Hawaii out of SF this last November on the Grand. She’s showing her age but is a very seaworthy ship. We had one day when the weather created some rough seas on our way back, but no one that I’m aware of got seasick. I have no idea where TNTLAMB got the idea she is flat bottomed. Not true. Sailing in and out of San Francisco can be a little rocky at times but it’s rarely bothersome. 

 

We were lucky to have gorgeous warm weather on every island, but it can be a crap shoot. The cruise prior to ours experienced rain. Most of the sea days were cool, so be sure and pack sweaters/sweatshirts. The ship keeps the temperature in the public areas on the cool side too. 

 

I hope you have the Hawaiian Ambassadors, Rowena and Brian on board. They’re great entertainers who also conduct craft classes and Ukulele and hula lessons. It makes the entire cruise a real Hawaiian adventure. 

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1 hour ago, Crystabel said:

WI have no idea where TNTLAMB got the idea she is flat bottomed....

Well I got the idea because most modern cruise ships are flat bottomed. ( There is an article somewhere on the main CC sight explaining it.). One of the main reasons is the ease of dry dock.  The Grand is unique however in that it was the first grand class and built at a time when newer materials were being developed but not being worked used.It was built entirely of steel. Later grand class versions use lighter alloy materials in decking ladders etc.

 

The effect of all that steel was the ship rode bow high and had to frequently use her pin stabilizers to have a relatively smooth ride.. problem was it slowed the ship down significantly not to mention fuel efficiency.  The main reason The grand had the most extensive dry dock ever and Skywalker's was removed was to eliminate her riding bow high. It helped some and fuel efficiency increased about 3%4% Though vastly improved it's a constant battle on the captains part to balance speed, fuel efficiency and how extended the stabilizers are. More simply put the Grand has more difficulty in rough water than any of princess fleet and many other lines forrests.

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My DW and I did this cruise twice - we've cruised four times, and the last two were this cruise (the last one was a year ago).

 

We loved it. We also sailed with Brian and Rowena both times and they are a lot of fun. There will be Hawaiian ambassadors on every Princess Hawaiian cruise, so there will always be ukulele & hula lessons (and a performance by passengers), and lectures with some of the culture and history. There are always a lot of things to do. Karaoke, trivia, shows, movies, looking out at the ocean, eating, working off the food, etc. We also had a great enrichment lecturer, Barry "Big B" Brenner, who did an amazing series of concert/lectures on early blues music.

 

My wife and I are early/mid-40s, and we didn't feel out of place demographically (there are all types and ages of people on the ship).

 

One of the best things about this cruise from an "experiencing Hawaii" standpoint is that you get to experience four different islands. I feel like I got a good sense of what I liked most about each of the islands and ideas for future visits (of course, I love them all and want to spend more time on all of them).

 

It is definitely rougher going across the Pacific than it is hugging the coast to Alaska or on the California Coastal. Try to avoid a forward cabin. At least the one time we did it, booking a forward cabin resulted in a lot of concussive, loud noises when the ship hit the rough water. (TNTLAMB might know a bit about why - that was an interesting tidbit on the ship, thanks!) Midship is your best bet. We like a little motion and always book an aft cabin now. 

 

 

It is definitely colder the first couple days out from San Francisco but the gradual warming is a unique phenomenon that we enjoyed experiencing.

 

We will no doubt do this cruise again someday. However, here are the reasons we are going to fly to Hawaii next time we go there:

 

1. Balance of sea days and port days: You have to really be committed to sea days to take this cruise. And then the four port days being right in a row in the middle mean that, if you want to maximize your time in the islands, you could wear yourself out (or just end up having to skip something you would otherwise want to see). In addition, personally, I find it difficult to justify taking that much time off for only four partial days in the islands.

 

2. Not being able to relax on land for any length of time. There's something nice about hanging out in your hotel lagoon in the moonlight, or walking on the beach at sunset, that you can't really do on a cruise. And you don't get as deep an experience of any one island.

 

Either way, you really can't go wrong. Enjoy!

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Cruise Raider has covered it well. On my R/T from SF. A little rough going out under the Golden Gate and very windy. Return trip you will port in Mexico. The water there heading north was pounding, so much the captain had to slow the ship down. Every time we hit swell it would just shutter the ship. Then you think if we are only going this speed, we will not make it back to SF on time. But sure enough we did.

Hawaiian Ambassadors, Rowena and Brian, very nice couple. Very good entertainers. Brian is a wizard on the ukulele. A must see.

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I did this itinerary as a Thanksgiving cruise on the Star in 2014.  The cooler weather for the first few days out of San Francisco was not a problem.  It was nice to have an indoor pool available.  The biggest discomfort factor was rough seas several days.  Not so bad as to cause seasickness, but just a challenge to walk in a straight line.  There was plenty to do on sea days and lots of lectures concerning Hawaii.

 

Sail-away from San Francisco is much more spectacular than from LA.  Our departure was delayed until after dark due to a dockworkers strike.

 

Bottom line - I think you would enjoy this itinerary.

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12 hours ago, TNTLAMB said:

Well I got the idea because most modern cruise ships are flat bottomed. ( There is an article somewhere on the main CC sight explaining it.). One of the main reasons is the ease of dry dock.  The Grand is unique however in that it was the first grand class and built at a time when newer materials were being developed but not being worked used.It was built entirely of steel. Later grand class versions use lighter alloy materials in decking ladders etc.

 

The effect of all that steel was the ship rode bow high and had to frequently use her pin stabilizers to have a relatively smooth ride.. problem was it slowed the ship down significantly not to mention fuel efficiency.  The main reason The grand had the most extensive dry dock ever and Skywalker's was removed was to eliminate her riding bow high. It helped some and fuel efficiency increased about 3%4% Though vastly improved it's a constant battle on the captains part to balance speed, fuel efficiency and how extended the stabilizers are. More simply put the Grand has more difficulty in rough water than any of princess fleet and many other lines forrests.

 

Here’s a link to Grand Princess in drydock. Make up your own mind. 

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/princesscruises/albums/72157626354589807/page4

 

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If you are familiar with how ships are designed, then your pictures confirm what is generally known about many cruise ships- wide flat bottoms with very shallow drafts making them "rocky" on rough seas.. You would have to see a picture of a "liner to really see the difference. Pam put it best when she said "You're right. They are "rocky" compared to ships designed as liners. The Grand class ships have a relatively shallow draft and wide, flat bottom so that they tend to go over seas rather than through them. They're like rubber duckies with stabilizers to help, well, stabilize them." in this old but good thread: 

 

2000px-Ship_diagram-numbers.svg.png

 

Edited by TNTLAMB
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We have done this cruise twice out of Vancouver. The passengers were certainly an older crowd. Almost no kids, and we felt young being in our late 40s.

 

As some have said already, around about day 3, it almost feels like someone flipped a switch and it warms up.

 

Others have also mentioned how rough the first couple days can be. Our first cruise ever was on the Grand to Hawaii. It was very rough. Many things were cancelled. A lot of people were seasick. I was very seasick too. First time in my life. I guess I could have avoided it by spending $5 on seasick medicine, and not eating fish and chips when I was already sick, but I just had never been seasick before. Now, I am much more careful, and I have never been sick again.

 

It was so bad that I heard 8 groups chose to fly back rather than return on the Grand. Funny part is it was dead calm on the way back.

 

I personally find the cruise too long. The sea days on the way there are fine because you are anticipating Hawaii. Hawaii is amazing, but the sea days back, I could do without. Others will totally disagree with me. 

 

I enjoyed the Grand. It is a little older, but it is still a nice layout, and the crew was great. We are sailing on it in March to Mexico.

 

Hope you have a great time.

 

 

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We did this a few years ago but not on the grand. We found it boring and would not do it again. Only 4 ports. My wife does not like that many sea days. Cold for half the trip. They used to go to 5 islands, which would make a big difference. 

 

We are are retired and looking for something to to do. We do enough relaxing at home. 

Edited by oskidunker
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20 hours ago, garda said:

Hi!

 

I will need advise from you experts out there.  I booked a Hawaiin Cruise on the Grand Princess in November 2019.  I am just so undecided whether to go for it or look for another destination.  Need to know if it is cold ( what is cold:classic_unsure:) out of San Francisco and back to San Francisco in November.  It is an older ship. Will I be bored on sea days .Will there be people my age ( late 50's)?  Once in Hawaii, it will be fantastic but it's getting there that I an not sure of.

 

Need to know all your pros and cons!!

 

Thanks

 

Considering how many sea days you will have,  if you are like me you will be bored out of your skull.  You will be so bored that you will almost be willing to jump overboard and swim to the nearest land.  Yes - I know that there are people on CC who just love sea days but you asked for opinions and mine is that sea days are a fate worse than death.  Nothing to do but to stare at an endless boring open ocean.  Do you get the idea that I hate sea days.

Don

20 hours ago, garda said:

 

 

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Go for it, for sure.  I have done six Hawaii cruises, including the Grand RT from San Francisco.  I loved every minute.   As mentioned, the Golden Gate is always spectacular.  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park from Hilo is a must.  Don't miss the ice cream shops on Front Street in Lahaina.  Chocolate macadamia nut is my favorite!

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Agree...love the sea days...love sailing underneath the Golden Gate Bridge specially with the fog...it has been a few years but we sailed with Elua (husband and wife team of Dave & Leialoha) who sang beautiful Hawaiian songs, gave ukelele, hula, lei making lessons (I believe they are on the Emerald now).........and oh, you do stop in Ensenada, Mexico on the way back.  Happy Sailing and Aloha! :classic_smile:

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So as someone with 40+ cruises under my belt and just having done this cruise (Christmas-New Years  2018) I will give you my opinion. Unless you are a great sailor don't do it at this time of year on this ship!!!  I know weather can change and is never guaranteed but this cruise was one of the worst regarding the weather...cold until day before reached Hawaii (sweatshirt needed, could not use veranda(wind,rain, cold) and it ROCKED constantly for 5 days! Many people sick from the motion. The return trip was only slightly better but more rain! Captain said it's always like this at this time of the year!

The ship will be dry-docked in March...lucky you! It needs to be retired!! The leaks are everywhere, the smell in some places (Princess Theater- upper rt side was like being in a garbage pit) was sickening. We had a toilet with a mind of it's own...flushed when it wanted to...not on a need to basis! Not much to do during the day. The best things were the beds and the crew and Brian and Rowena they saved the trip for us! Hawaii was warm, sunny and beautiful but they need to add more time to see them! (This was our 4th time there!)..Hope this helps in your decision....Aloha!

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